Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween


Just popping in to wish you a Happy Halloween, with a little help from these two Monsters!

They are so excited about going trick and treating this evening with friends. I have a feeling there may be a sugar rush later...

Have a wonderful day.

PS To our friends on the East Coast of America - we are thinking of you.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Home at last

Hello and thank you for supporting my family during this past week. Your kind words have meant a lot to us.

Today is my 67th birthday and what better gift than my daughter and our baby  being home to share it? She still has a little jaundice but we are assured it is nothing to worry about. She is a bundle of Joy and I can't stop looking at her. My heart is overflowing with happiness and gratitude. 

Time to celebrate!

Enjoy your week.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Baby Update


What a week it has been. Our baby is taking tiny steps each day, getting ever closer to the time when she can come home.

Here she is catching a few more rays of sunshine. The jaundice is much improved.

It is wonderful seeing her without all the tubes and leads that were so necessary to her recovery. It has even been whispered that she may soon be able to wear some clothes. She has her eye on some rather nice outfits presently sitting in her locker. In the meantime, she is happy to sport a new line in white sunglasses. 

Yesterday when I held her, she opened her eyes. It was the most beautiful moment.

Her big sister and brother have spent quite a bit of time at the hospital in the family room.

My grandson has taken to 'fixing' all the furniture with a set of tools he found in the toy box. Just call me Bob, he told me.

They are both looking forward to having their baby sister home with them and so are we. Fingers crossed, won't be long now.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Welcome to the World

Sometimes, the world seems to flip on its axis and take you on a roller-coaster ride.

Last Friday night, I received a telephone call from my eldest daughter to say her waters had broken (sorry, male readers). Nothing too distressing in that expected call; it is her third child, and as she is 37 weeks, she would be allowed another home birth. However, at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, she was told to go to our local hospital due to a loss of blood. 

Once there, she catapulted from being told she was to have a c-section, then that she was to be induced, and further, that she would be given an epidural... In the end, she gave birth naturally to my third grandchild, a beautiful baby girl.

However, after delivery, the baby was whisked away and she and her husband were informed that the baby needed oxygen to help her breathe, they were not to be anxious. Can you imagine having gone through almost nine months' pregnancy and then labour, and not to be able to hold the thing you call most dear? It was awful. As time went on, it became apparent that there was a serious problem and they were told that the baby was to be transported in an incubator by a team from a large neonatal unit to another hospital.They were not allowed to accompany the baby but had to drive there separated from the baby. They had not seen the baby. It was agony.

Upon arrival, they found out that the baby had been unable to breathe unaided but she had transported well and was in an incubator in the neonatal unit. 

The nursing staff at the unit were amazing. They worked tirelessly to give our baby every chance for survival. Our baby clung on for dear life and we all prayed for her recovery. And, recover she has. As each hour passed, we could see small improvements. Her exhausted parents spent hours gazing at her, willing her on to live.

On Sunday, I was allowed to take my two grandchildren to visit their baby sister. It was my first sight of our baby, it was very emotional. At this stage, my daughter and son-in-law had held the baby for the first time. It was joyous!

And by the Monday, our baby was breathing unaided and my daughter was able to hold her and attempt to feed her. 

By Tuesday, our baby has been transported back to the local hospital, all her tubes have been removed - though she still has to be placed under a lamp for her jaundice - feeding is established and we are all smiling.

This has been an exceptionally traumatic time but of one thing I am sure. The will to live is strong. Strengthened by people who love and care about you, and against all the odds, we can survive anything as long as we believe.

Monday, 15 October 2012

October Simply a Moment


As I am sifting through the myriad of things I have collected over the years, my mind is having a running conversation about what I deem to be precious. Something so precious that I can't part company with it. You know how it goes? All the children's drawings and the many cards they have given to me over the years. The photographs, the letters to Santa... Somehow, scanning them to place on the computer just isn't enough. It's their physical presence that matters. I have to be brave though. I am about to downsize my living space and will only have room for the absolute necessities of life. I am fortunate that my two daughters will share the things that are of sentimental and historical value to us all. Items that I have lovingly kept from both sides of our family, things that may not have a lot of value but are important to us. They both have a sense of family history and values that I admire in ones so young.

The dialogue in my head continues and I think, suddenly, of a trip to Bali that the family made when we lived in Asia. There is something I remember that has always stayed with me, something I loved and looked out for, each day we were there. Every day, the Balinese women make small offerings called canang sari which are placed outside their doors and on statues to guard against evil spirits. The making of these fragrant frangipani decorations takes time and skill. They are like small pieces of art. And yet, the next morning, the previous day's offerings are swept away and replaced by new ones. What I felt then, and remember now, is how important it is to make room for something new, a life in which to grow. All the ephemera is not who I am. It is the memories and love of my family and life that matter the most. Like those small offerings, some of my belongings can get swept away but I will never forget them. 

Translated from Indonesian by Kay Moechtar, who I met in Bali in 1989.
Kay sadly died in October 1992 from breast cancer.

On the 15th of each month for a year, I am joining in to record Simply a Moment as suggested by Alexa of Trimming the Sails. You can read about it here. Why don't you take a moment to write something down today? It can be amazingly enlightening.

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Autumnal Preparations

Over the years, I have celebrated many Harvest festivals. The ones of my youth, where the Church was decorated with many sheaves of corn and the delightful corn dollies we had made in school or at Sunday school. 

The festivals attended by my own children in Yorkshire and the excitement on their faces as they carried home-grown produce to school on the morning of the Harvest celebration. The ones when we were living in Asia, the Moon Festival, where we would go to a local beach with a picnic and sit and watch the Moon, surrounded by other families, their faces lit by the hundreds of candles that had been placed in the sand.

This week, I had the pleasure of attending my granddaughter's Harvest Service. The Church was beautifully decorated and as I took my seat, I was overwhelmed by how the years fell away as I listened to the familiar story unfold, the message of gathering-in the harvest for the months ahead. The children's donations were made in boxes that will be handed out to those in need in the Parish, and my granddaughter's class participated by singing Bread from our Harvest and Super Sun, quite catchy tunes and very different from the Come Ye Thankful People Come of my childhood.  

After the service, we went for afternoon tea to a favourite local Cafe.

My granddaughter is very excited about the baby sister who is only a few weeks away from joining her and her brother. She has even given the baby a name and I am not sure what will happen if my daughter and son-in-law choose a different one...

As I was sitting in Church that day, I was thinking about how my daughter is presently nesting, preparing for this new arrival and gathering her family ever closer to her. Autumn, a time to appreciate all our bountiful harvest blessings.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Ahoy me hearties!

The theme for this month's Storytelling Sunday Two over at From High in the Sky is 'Let's dress up'. It would seem that I have a penchant for dressing up as a pirate...

In September/October 2005, I spent a month with my friends in Rhode Island. I had always wanted to experience Fall in New England and while I was there, they took me up to Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. I will never forget the colours of the foliage and seeing lots of covered bridges. It was breathtaking

During the visit, my friends had a fancy dress party to celebrate my forthcoming 60th birthday, and the birthday of their dear Aunt Roz. As my birthday is at the end of October, Halloween parties have been a fairly common theme throughout my life but nothing could have prepared me for the party they gave me. Everyone entered into the spirit of it, some of the costumes were amazing. My friend is the cute little 'blonde nurse' in the middle of this photograph.

Not knowing about the party in advance, I hadn't arrived prepared. On the day of the party, my friend took me to a local fabric store and I picked up some stripy fabric from a fabric bin, purchased some thread, went back to her house, got out the sewing machine ... and became a pirate. 

Aunt Roz and I shared a cake and as you can see below, my half of the cake even had an anchor or two iced on top.

Let's move on to 2006. That summer was spent sailing around the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean with friends. While on board, we had a party. We were anchored in a delightful bay off Ibiza and on the spur of the moment, decided to dress up for the occasion. Undaunted by the lack of available costumes, we cut up our food boxes to make eye-patches, blacked a few teeth, donned a few headscarves and made up the motley crew below. Even the on-board teddy got an eye-patch. Well, we couldn't have left him out, could we?

That stripy pirate costume has had a few outings since 2005, this year being worn by my son-in-law at my grandson's birthday party. Not bad for something that cost under £1 to make.

Such happy memories and if you enjoy a story or two, why not pop over to Sian's place and join in the fun. You will be glad you did.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Sweet logic

A day with my grandson always makes me smile. Yesterday, was a case in point. We had been out shopping and to the playground. On the way home, I stopped for petrol. Here's our conversation

For this digital page I have used some of the elements from the kit I recently purchased at paislee press. You can also see them here.

I will be back on Sunday, joining in with a bit of storytelling over at Sian's place. There's a Halloween theme that could involve dressing up. See you there?